Six going to Tacoma, four to Yakima, and one to Spokane for tournaments
This is only the second year that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has used its current format for basketball tournaments. Because of this, we are not so sure we can call it a magical, historic season for Clark County teams.
On second thought, sure we can.
Wednesday is going to be monumental in terms of state tournament games for the region. Six teams will be in Tacoma, four more in Yakima, and one team will be playing in Spokane.
Yes, 11 Clark County teams have made it to the round of 12 in their respective tournaments, classifications. That is five more than last season.
ClarkCountyToday.com is celebrating their accomplishments with notes on every team, including leading scorer, top defender, and other info provided by the coaches. All quotes are from the team’s head coach.
A reminder that all games Wednesday are: Do or Die. Loser-Out. Elimination. The winners will advance to the quarterfinals and will be assured of at least a game Friday, either in the championship semifinals or the consolation bracket.
Here are the 11 teams from Clark County:
Union Titans (20-6)
Coach: Blake Conley
Leading scorer: Tyler Combs, 16.5 ppg
Leading rebounder: Alishawuan Taylor, 6.3 rpg
Top defender: “Quinn Lamey has been our lockdown defender all year. He can guard a post and he uses his speed and length (he’s 6-foot-4) to cause problems for the other team’s best player. He is second on the team in rebounds as well and been our ‘glue guy’ all year.”
Unsung hero of the team: “Alishawuan Taylor has improved his defense and tenacity. He sets great screens, cleans up the boards, and dives on every loose ball he can. With all the talented guards around him, he’s learned how he can best fit the role that we need him in order for our team’s success. He is selfless and will do whatever is asked of him.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “Even though it’s our fourth straight trip, every time is special and a great team accomplishment. We have improved a lot this year, so it is a testimony to the unity and heart that this team has shown all year.”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Kamiak (16-8) vs. Union, 3:45 p.m.
If Union wins … Titans will play Richland (23-1) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Skyview Storm (23-4)
Coach: Matt Gruhler
Leading scorer: Alex Schumacher 17.0 ppg
Leading rebounder: Samaad Hector 10.0 rpg
Top defender: Jovon Sewell. Always guards the best guard on the other team and averages a couple steals per game.
Unsung hero: Cole Grossman is third in scoring, second in rebounds, third in assists. “Does a great job defending other team’s post players and does a lot of things that make us a better team.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “I am so proud of our players who have worked really hard to put themselves in this position. They have made it a goal of theirs to be the first team in school history to make it to state. They put in a lot of extra time in the offseason to make it to that goal. No matter what happens this week, they will be able to always look back on this season as a year that made history at Skyview.”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Glacier Peak (20-3) vs. Skyview, 5:30 p.m.
If Skyview wins … Storm will play Gonzaga Prep (23-0) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 4A girls
Coach: Scott Preuninger
Leading scorer/rebounder: Courtney Clemmer 10 ppg/6.4 rpg
Top defender: Jillian Webb. “She’s a tough, hard-nosed defender. Jillian does a great job in our press, our zone, and when she’s assigned to cover our opponent’s best scoring guard.”
Unsung hero: Maggie Wells. “She had some big shoes to fill with the season-ending injury to Madison Freemon. Maggie has done more than an adequate job. She seems to always come Thoughts on getting to the dome: “I”m just really proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished thus far. Going undefeated in league for the second season in a row (and) making the bi-district semifinal only to lose to defending state champion Kentridge. It was a one-point game with five minutes to go in the third quarter, and we were only down five going into the fourth quarter. We then got some revenge on Kentlake, defeating them in the (third-place) game. Also, for the second year in a row, our RPI was No. 8 in the state.”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Union (19-7) vs. Camas, 2 p.m. (Yes, two 4A GSHL teams playing each other in elimination game!)
If Camas wins … Papermakers will play Eastlake (22-2) at 2 p.m Thursday in quarterfinals
Union Titans (19-7)
Coach: Mike Cranston
Leading scorer: Mason Oberg, 16 ppg
Leading rebounder: Courtney Cranston, 6.5 rpg
Top defender: Rebekah Barney leads the team in steals
Unsung hero: Mackenzie Lewis. “We wouldn’t be sitting here without her. She has a really super balanced stat line. Godo assist-to-turnover ratio. Second in scoring. Just a game. Big games for us when we needed them.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “It’s pretty cool. Pretty daunting task to get there. Three loser-out games. Really proud of the girls for persevering. They had the ‘We’re not done yet’ mentality. Just kept battling and battling back. … They didn’t back down. They didn’t play scared.”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Camas (16-8) vs. Union, 2 p.m. (Yes, two 4A GSHL teams playing each other in elimination game!)
If Union wins … Titans will play Eastlake (22-2) at 2 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 3A boys
Prairie Falcons (20-6)
Coach: Kyle Brooks
Leading scorers: Kameron Osborn (23 ppg) and Dante Heitschmidt (16)
Leading rebounders: Braiden Broadbent (6.5 rpg) and Logan Reed (6.1)
Top defenders: The twins, Zeke and AJ Dixson
Unsung heroes: “Kaleb Locke and Matthew Kogler have both been unsung heros off the benchm really understanding and carrying out their roles.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “Very excited to get back to the dome. Pleased that after starting the season losing four of our first six, we are now sitting at 20-6. It’s not how you start the season that counts, but how you finish that matters most. Our goal is to try and play four games and bring home a trophy. We want to really enjoy the opportunity and remember to ‘stop and smell the roses along the way.’”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Wilson (20-6) vs Prairie, 2 p.m.
If Prairie wins … Falcons will play Rainier Beach (20-6) at 2 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 3A girls
Prairie Falcons (21-4)
Coach: Hala Corral
Leading scorers: Brooke Walling (17.5 ppg) and Cassidy Gardner (11.4)
Leading rebounder: Brooke Walling, 7.7 rpg
Leader in assists: Allison Corral 5.3
Top defender and unsung hero: “We always put Haley Reed on their best player to shut them down. She does all the little things on defense that makes our team go. Whether we are in man or our trap, she’s always in the right place. If a ball is on the floor, she will on the ball and try to get the possession for our team. She does not score a lot for our team but her presence on the floor is unmatched.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “I am very proud of the team this year. People think, ‘Oh, it’s Prairie. They always get to state.’ Honestly, it is not that easy. These young ladies work hard throughout the year to get to where we are today. They put in countless hours at practice and way from practice to get to where they are today.
“To be one of the final 12 teams and to be doing to the Tacoma Dome is a big deal. This is a very special team and very special group of girls. Whether we win or lose, I know this team will go and compete until the final whistle.”
Wednesday at Tacoma Dome: Stanwood (17-6) vs. Prairie, 5:30 p.m.
If Prairie wins … Falcons will play Lincoln (24-1) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 2A boys
Columbia River Chieftains (19-5)
Coach: David Long
Leading scorer: Jacob Hjort 15 ppg
Leading rebounder: Nasseen Gutierrez 6.8 rpg
Top defender: Jack Armstrong. “Long and quick.” Stands at 6-4, he has post height but guard feet. Always draws the opponent’s leading scorer.
Unsung hero: Nate Snook, the first player off the bench. A sophomore, very quick with the best vertical jump reach on the team. Can shoot the 3-ball and get to the rim, but leads the team in steals. Has a real knack for jumping in passing lanes.
Thoughts on getting to the dome: A narrow loss to the No. 1-ranked team in the state and No. 2 in RPI (Selah) in regionals. If River wins Wednesday, will play Lynden, which is ranked second and has the top RPI. “Tough draw. We are in it to win it. Our kids believe we can do it.” … Coach also knows this trip will help in the future. “We start six in a rotational basis, and four of the six will return next year. Having been there before is important for next year.”
Wednesday at Yakima Valley SunDome: Fife (21-5) vs. Columbia River, 5:30 p.m.
If Columbia River wins … Chieftains will face Lynden (19-6) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 2A girls
Washougal Panthers (20-5)
Coach: Britney Knotts
Leading scorer/rebounder: Beyonce Bea (19 ppg, 10 rpg)
Top defender: Kiara Cross. “Head of our defensive attack. Quick feet and our best on-ball defender. She frustrates the offense and dictates the tempo. Second leader in steals, but also causes a lot of steals for her teammates with deflections and ball pressure.”
Unsung hero: Skylar Bea. Cleans up the glass and is second-leading rebounder. “She’s starting to finish more consistently inside. Skylar is a great defender inside and on the perimeter, a true athlete. Her confidence has grown a lot this season. She’s starting to find her rhythm.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “We are extremely proud. We knew everyone was doubting us after so many changes coming into the season. It’s a great demonstration of what it means when we all believe in ourselves. The Lady Panthers are resilient! This team has heart. We have grown in so many ways, battled adversity, adopted new roles, bought into a new system, and faced the ups and downs of the season. The trust just continues to grow, and everyone still wants to contribute in any way they can.
“We are looking forward to our state run. There will be so many great opportunities. We can’t wait to battle it out with some of the state’s top teams.”
Wednesday at Yakima Valley SunDome: Lynden (17-8) vs. Washougal, 10:30 a.m.
If Washougal wins … Panthers will play East Valley of Spokane (20-1) at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 1A boys
King’s Way Christian
Coach: Daven Harmeling
Leading scorer/rebounder: Khalfani Cason 18 ppg and 7 rpg
Top defender: Brady Metz. “He is relentless and eager to guard the other team’s best player.”
Unsung hero: Kefentse Cason “He is our glue guy. Fearless, competitive, physical, and does a bit of everything. Think Draymond Green without the attitude!”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “It’s significant for us because we missed the mark on our first two goals (league and district titles) for which I take personal responsibility. However, their third goal of bringing home a trophy from state is still in play. Also, this advances our streak of state appearances to four consecutive years.”
Wednesday at Yakima Valley SunDome: Cascade Christian (14-9) vs. King’s Way Christian, 10:30 a.m.
If King’s Way Christian wins … Knights will play Lynden Christian (23-1) at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in quarterfinals
Class 1A girls
La Center Wildcats (21-2)
Coach: Herm Van Weerdhuizen
Leading scorer: Taylor Stephens 18 ppg
Leading rebounders: Taylor Mills and Whitley Seter 8 rpg
Top defenders: Molly Edwards and Bethany Whitten set the tone for the Wildcats
Unsung hero: “Whitley Seter … is the one in the right place at the right time. Does everything great.”
Coach’s thoughts on getting to the dome: “We are senior heavy in our starting lineup. If we are going to make any noise this week they are going to have to carry us.”
Wednesday at Yakima Valley SunDome: Freeman (15-9) vs. La Center, 3:45 p.m.
If La Center wins … Wildcats will play Medical Lake (22-0) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals
Class 1B girls
Columbia Adventist Kodiaks (14-2)
Coach: Laurisa Pearson
Leading scorers: Macey Pearson (10.9 ppg) and Mariah Fernando (10.2)
Leading rebounders: Breanna Ermshar and Macey Pearson
Top defenders: Delaney Ermshar and Taylor Boatright. “They just come out and give it their all. They are awesome defenders. They just go and go and go until they can’t go no more. They give us their all.”
Unsung hero: Fernando. Senior captain. “Leader of our team spiritually. Just a go-getter. She can cheer our team up when I can’t.”
Thoughts on getting to the dome: “It was a huge surprise is what it was,” the coach said, noting the team was down by 20 points Saturday night before rallying to win in the regional elimination game.“These girls, their hearts, drive, and their love for the game has got them there. God has been with us the whole season. He has been there by our side and our main leader.”
Wednesday at the Spokane Arena: Mount Vernon Christian (20-7) vs. Columbia Adventist, 7:15 p.m.
If Columbia Adventist wins … Kodiaks will play Neah Bay (22-2) at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals